Hamas's Hudna : "Tunnels underground, and rockets above the ground”
"As a young guerrilla fighter, Yahyah Sinwar was involved in the systematic murder of Palestinian collaborators and traitors who were accused of working for Israeli intelligence, police and other occupying authorities during the first intifada. In this capacity, bestowed upon him by Hamas founder and leader Sheik Ahmad Yassin, he showed a penchant for cruelty, determination and ruthlessness."
"For his murderous terrorist acts, he was sentenced by the Israeli military court to four life sentences in 1989. Inside the walls of the jail, he rose into prominence among Palestinian inmates in general and those affiliated with Hamas in particular. Within a decade, he became the undisputed leader of the thousands of Hamas inmates in Israeli jails. From his cell, he communicated with the commanders of the military wing and demanded the kidnapping of Israeli civilians and soldiers to be used as bargaining chips in prisoner swaps."
"In 2011, after 22 years in prison, he was released in the controversial Gilad Schalit deal. He quickly positioned himself to serve in an unofficial capacity as “defense minister,” a liaison between the military wing and the political echelon. In the welcome home demonstration following his release, 200,000 Gazans packed the streets to hear Sinwar deliver a fiery speech calling for an uncompromising military confrontation with Israel. He advocated an approach whereby Hamas would 'take the battles into the enemy side' – in a sense, his speech was the antecedent to the strategy of constructing tunnels to infiltrate Israel."
Jerusalem Post, February 2017
Hamas has taken to increasing the number of rockets it fires into Israel. It had promised there would be repercussions to the assassination of Mazen Fuqaha, of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. And Hamas has placed the blame for the killing of this senior Hamas commander of its fighting force on Israel. A targeted killing that Israel neither claims for itself or denies it had any part in. For that matter, the newly-appointed leader of Hamas, Yahyah Sinwar himself had ordered the killing of another senior commander whom he viewed as a competitor for the top position Sinwar planned for himself.
Now, however, a hunt is on for the identification of any possible traitors among Hamas whose insider information might have been given to Israel to aid its operatives in carrying out the assassination in a clearly professional manner, appearing in a central Gaza City area, up close and personal, using a silencer, disappearing immediately after the killing; knowing in effect, where to be and precisely when to carry off the carefully constructed targeted killing. First, detecting who Israel's helpers among Gazans might be and making an example of them.
And then, making good on the threat to make Israel pay dearly for dispatching yet another leader in Hamas, sworn to Israel's destruction. It is not yet clear that Hamas is prepared for another war in Gaza with Israeli forces. Hamas is intent on restoring its weapons caches to their former state before the last confrontation took place, in 2012. It has also been focusing on importing technically advanced parts to enable it to construct more sophisticated and accurate and powerful rockets to lob at Israeli targets.
There is a 'hudna' in effect, a type of Arab/Muslim ceasefire of a temporary nature that is not planned to resume until such time as Hamas feels its weaponry is restored to a satisfactory level. For the present, Hamas seems satisfied to send test launches of its upgraded rockets out to sea where Israeli forces can plainly view the events from their side of the border. Hamas has also busied itself digging new tunnels, some fifteen of which are known to extend under Israeli territory, which Israeli patrols occasionally come across, finding as well explosives planted along the border fence.
Faced with the inevitability of yet another dramatic event of sufficient proportions to elicit a similar response from Israel, as a signal that another clash is on the horizon, Israel's critics in Europe chastising it for its 'human rights violations' in its treatment of Gaza, clearly don't have to live with a constant existential threat as Israel does. It would be interesting to see what other country would be as wedded to human rights entitlements faced with daily threats of violence, permitting as Israel does 700 to 800 trucks to enter Gaza on a daily basis.
If unemployment is high and scarcities make life difficult for Gazans who live with the effect of unreliable revenue streams for Hamas authorities to administer the strip, it is all attributable to the Hamas focus on its charter promise to destroy Israel, rather than to commit itself to furthering and advancing the prospects of a sizeable community of Palestinians under its control. Because of Israeli intelligence linking Hamas with the facilitation of terrorist attacks in the West Bank or within Israel, the number of entry permits given Gazans into Israel have had of necessity to be limited.